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We caught up with funky electronic guru GRiZ before he began The Super Shagadelic Tour last month. He stops in at the Old National Centre Thursday Oct. 29.
NUVO: I jumped on the Griz hype train back in 2012 with the release of Mad Liberation. To me, the emphasis on “funk” in your tunes has increased ten-fold since then, would you agree?
Griz: Definitely man, I think I’m coming around on it. I started doing IDM shit, super intense, glitch music. I benched on hip-hop and fell in love with that. When I fell in love with k-pop I fell in love more with the beats and then found out the beats were just samples of all these records. Now I did my homework and [I’m] understanding where all these crazy deep cuts of funk and soul music are — I’m learning. New artists pop up to me all the time and I’m finding that this is the music that I really love. This is what turns me on.
NUVO: How important to you is it to fully encompass the idea of a “live” performance?
Griz: I’ve been playing live music for quite some time now. Playing the saxophone and trying to switch it up and play different mixes or different songs. I think that the whole live thing is super important and something that I really enjoy pushing myself and trying to learn new stuff. When I do like recording saxophone in the studio typically I try and push myself to write something that I can’t exactly quite play at the time, it’s segmented. If it’s a 32-bar solo it’ll be segmented into 4 8-bar bits and from there I’ll have to figure out how to play it live. That kind of brings me to become a better player. I think that without playing the saxophone all the time I would miss out on that.
NUVO: Does the desire to have the saxophone, and increase the live performance of the saxophone help in that?
Griz: Maybe. I think a lot of the funk is within that horn kind of vibe. It’s in a lot of guitar too. But I think the organic element of the saxophone definitely facilitates that funky atmosphere.
NUVO: The Indy show is Oct. 29 right before you go up to Freaky Deaky for Halloween? Is it going to be a little Halloween preview?
Griz: Yeah we always like to keep the vibes right. Got to shell out some spooky shit for the season that is Halloween, some Halloween funk shit. But yeah, Halloween is super fun. It’s basically a really awesome excuse to dress up and go nuts and I look forward to doing but exactly that and kind of getting a little weird with it
NUVO: A lot of people that don’t know electronic music that much, don’t know funk music that much, or just don’t know your label that much say who is Muzzy Bearr? He’s on your label and he will accompanying you at your stop, so how would describe his tunes to an audience that hasn’t heard him perform before?
Griz: Muzzy Bearr is like taking the flavors of the new future bass beats movement and formulating that within the flavors of Marvin Gaye instrumentals.
NUVO: So you’ve created your own strain of weed that did really well at the Cannabis Cup, but sometimes your own shit isn’t always the best, what’s your favorite?
Griz: Yeah my strain man, it’s got my name on it. I love the Griz Kush, i think it’s a really awesome mild smoke. I like to smoke a lot of weed and I can’t be getting stupid high all the time, so I like to keep things at en even keel. I’ll roll a joint in the morning and I’ll smoke it all day. Smoking weed is not a race man, it’s a relaxing spiritually connected activity for me. I’m a stoner most of the time and that kush is good for me. The other strain that I’ve liked in the past, and is probably my other favorite strain is serving poison, just how it smells, tastes and the effect it’s such strain of weed and it’s like a cup of coffee.
NUVO: Does your smoking help you make high quality music?
Griz: No. Maybe. Yes. I’ve been doing it for so long it just goes hand and hand. It helps me hear music differently sometimes. If i haven’t smoked all day and have been wearing out my ears I’ll get high and it’ll help me hear things differently and be in a different mental headspace while doing it.
NUVO: If you could smoke out anyone who would it be?
Griz: Ohhh damn. First thing that comes to mind is all the people that already smoke weed but then there’s a whole possibility of people that don’t. I think it would be cool to get high with Bernie Sanders.
NUVO: That leads straight into my next question, what is it about Sanders that really attracts you?
Griz: He complains a lot and he’s really passionate about his complaining. That can seem a little bit off putting but what I do like, and what I think is important is that he’s representing the common american, the person that’s working, the union, the rest of us kind of vibe. I think he brings a lot of great points to mind that people need to readjust the way they think about it. There’s a lot of political things that I believe in that I’d rather not bore you with but to keep it short, I think that it’s been a long time coming for somebody to be so honest.
NUVO: For all the homies that are strapped for cash, which piece of merch would you recommend the most?
Griz: Shit man I’m a hat guy so I wear hats all the time and hats are good because they go with everything. Except the can’t go into clubs in LA so be careful because they’ll take that shit. That or the rolling papers, you always need those.